There’s no question that AAJA’s Muslim American Task Force (MATF) is needed now more than ever. Representation of Muslims in the news is shallow at best, the same people are interviewed over and over again, and many everyday citizens don’t know where to go with invaluable story ideas. Last year, a group of volunteers came together to figure out how AAJA can be the best resource for journalists covering news affecting Muslim/Muslim American communities.
Are you interested in helping AAJA further this work?
MATF is seeking volunteers for the following MATF committees:
The Guidelines Committee, spearheaded by Fauzeya Rahman, will keep a collection of resources for journalists reporting on Muslims in America. Along with an updated style guide, the committee plans to create topic-specific sections to help reporters understand the basics of a particular subject often seen in the press. Another goal for the group is to curate a list of articles that offer examples of deeper, more nuanced coverage of Muslims.
The Partnerships Committee, spearheaded by Waliya Lari, bridges the gap between journalists and American Muslim communities. Members are working to create a roster of think tanks, nonprofits and other organizations to ensure journalists have the tools and sources they need to properly report on Muslims and that Muslim communities have proper channels to get in touch with journalists.
The Sources Committee, spearheaded by Yousuf Fahimuddin, is creating a database of sources that goes beyond traditional religious scholars and political advocacy groups. In 2018, the committee will expand its efforts to find Muslim leaders who can be the voice of the American Muslim experience throughout the country. The database will help local as well as national journalists cover the diverse group of people who make up "Muslim America" — accurately and fairly.
The deadline to be a MATF volunteer has been extended. These volunteer positions are a year long and require about 1-2 hours a week. Email Nuran Alteir at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, April 13 with no more than 150 words explaining why you're interested in serving on this task force and what committee(s) you'd most like to work with. You must be an active AAJA member to apply.
The Muslim American Task Force (MATF) is also putting together a survey to evaluate the types of resources journalists would like to access. Have an idea you want to share with the committee? How interested are you in covering stories about American Muslims that go beyond reaction pieces? What challenges do journalists in your newsroom face when covering the Muslim community? Participate in the survey for a chance to win a FREE 2018 AAJA National Convention registration!